Monthly Archives: August 2007

Does money make you happy?

For over a generation, social scientists have discussed the ‘Easterlin Paradox’. One version of this is the commonly-held notion that above a certain threshold, GDP is uncorrelated with happiness. This turns out to be wrong. Income, Aging, Health and Wellbeing Around the World: … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 7 Comments

Rich Voters, Poor Voters

Over the past few months, Bryan Palmer and I have been debating the merits of using aggregate-level data to learn about individual-level behaviour. He’s been gracious enough to post a comment of mine on his recent tabulations. Bryan also has … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 6 Comments

Torchwood and the Cross

We’ve just finished watching the first season of Torchwood on DVD, which is kinda cheating, since TV viewers are only up to Episode 10. As Dr Who fans, we were suckers for the series from the outset, but I was … Continue reading

Posted in Television | 2 Comments


On 28 September, QUT lecturer Peter Black will be holding an Australian Blogging Conference in Brisbane. Registration is free. Details here. As Peter describes it: This will not be a conference in the traditional sense.  It will be relatively informal.  … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Coming Events | Comments Off on BlogConf

Poor kids first, please

I’ve written before about the way in which research on the benefits of targeted high-impact early childhood intervention has been used to justify low-impact universal programs. Fortunately, it seems I’m not the only one who’s worried about this. From the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 3 Comments

BCA Goes to School

The BCA has a report out today on education, which seems to have received blanket coverage in the AFR. I think it’s splendid to have more people throwing ideas into the policy mix, and the report is appropriately cautious/modest about … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 28 Comments

Questions asked, questions unasked

For anyone curious about the kind of research that Australasian labour economists are doing, some of the papers and discussions from the recent Australasian Labour Econometrics Workshop in Wellington can be found here. There’s only a dozen papers, but I’d … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 4 Comments

Headline of the month

Hear a General, Hug a Sheik: Congress Visits Iraq

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Academic's reputation now back in the black

A feisty US-Canada dispute initiated by our very own Joshua Gans now seems to have been resolved. For those who haven’t been following it, here’s the history. Gans: This one is for the clearly I have now seen it all … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 6 Comments

Why work when you can click on the "X added you as a friend on Facebook" email?

Tech-term of the week is ‘bacn’. As Eric Skiff describes it: Bacn refers to emails that you want, but don’t want to deal with right now, like that newsletter that you signed up for that you never really have time to … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations, Web/Tech | 3 Comments

Adelaide Advertisement

The National Institute of Labour Studies at Flinders University is looking for an associate or full professor. I’ve pasted the ad over the fold.

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Adelaide Advertisement

Getting Women the Vote

I’m presenting some work in progress in the ANU RSSS Political Science seminar next week. Details below. Bias at the Ballot Box? Testing whether candidates’ gender affects their vote share Wednesday 29 August, 4pm Seminar Room D, Coombs Building, Fellows … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 6 Comments

Of screenwriters and jockeys

Like John Quiggin, automatic news and google updates keep me informed of those who share my name. One is Los Angeles screenwriter Andrew Leigh, whose work is sufficiently close to mine that I was recently contacted by a US TV producer … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 1 Comment

Aug-Sept Econ Talks

The Aug-Sept ANU RSSS Economics seminar schedule is over the fold.

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Prioritization, Virginia-Style

From the New York Times comes two reports on how Virginia is responding to the Virginia Tech shooting. A university report has made some heavy-hitting recommendations, including: ¶Replacing the hardware on all perimeter doors of buildings. … ¶Installing locks on … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Betting market curio

I was just looking over the election odds while preparing for a radio interview (Orange ABC) on prediction markets, and noticed something I hadn’t seen before: Howard’s odds of retaining his own seat (61%) are now worse than not far from Latham’s odds of … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 5 Comments

Conflict of interest?

I blogged a couple of months ago on research documenting the over-exposure of financial market economists in the media. And now, from today’s SMH: A further interest rate rise is unlikely by the end of this year, Westpac’s new boss Gail … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 11 Comments

Measuring Poverty

The folks who run HILDA (Australia’s leading panel data survey) are doing some interesting thinking about consumption inequality, income inequality and wealth inequality, which could significantly change our estimates of poverty in Australia. Here’s a preview. (HT: Jeremy Lawson)

Posted in Inequality | 1 Comment

Idiot Box Helps Smarten People Up

Good economists keep doing interesting work on the media. Here’s the latest. The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women’s Status in India  Robert Jensen, Emily Oster  Cable and satellite television have grown rapidly throughout the developing world.  The availability … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Media | 1 Comment

Viewquaker Visits

Next Tuesday, the economists and philosophers at ANU are jointly hosting a seminar by George Mason University professor Robin Hanson. He’ll be speaking on the topic “Why You Don’t Tell the Truth: The Irrationality of Disagreement”. Details below. 12.00-1.30pm Tuesday … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events | Comments Off on Viewquaker Visits

What's Non-Cognitive?

Like other economists and non-economists, I’ve been interested for some time in James Heckman’s work on the importance of non-cognitive skills, yet never stopped to ask precisely what he meant by the term. Fortunately, Nicholas Gruen just chased down what … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 5 Comments

Pretty political pictures

Simon Jackman has been watching the Portlandbet prices for all federal seats, and has produced some very spunky graphs.

Posted in Australian Politics | Comments Off on Pretty political pictures

SMS is short for seminars

The ANU RSSS Economics seminar schedule is now available on Google Calendar. You can view the schedule as an agenda, daily or weekly. Indeed, if you’re really keen, you can set things up so that an SMS comes to your … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events | 2 Comments

Local Odds

Posted in Australian Politics | 11 Comments

Some Week Evidence on Successful Schools

My former thesis adviser Caroline Hoxby has a paper out on the effect of New York’s charter schools on student achievement (with Sonali Murarka). Using randomised entrance lotteries, she finds that charter schools raise student achievement. But the more interesting … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | Comments Off on Some Week Evidence on Successful Schools

The Political Economy of Interest Rates

I have an oped in today’s AFR on the politics and economics of interest rates. Copy over the fold.

Posted in Economics Generally | 7 Comments

Poor Policies

Ed Glaeser has a fascinating op-ed that gets at the question: should government focus on helping poor people, or poor places? (HT: Mark Thoma)

Posted in Inequality, US Politics | 15 Comments

First-best in public, second-best in private

In a recent post, Dani Rodrik divides economists into first-best economists and second-best economists. Put simply, the former apply straightforward economic reasoning; the latter think more about market imperfections. To be precise: You can tell what kind of an economist … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 7 Comments

Summer votin', happens so fast…

SportingBet Australia is offering odds on when the federal election will be held. Their opening prices are below, with the favourite being Nov 24. Any Saturday in August/September $26.00 October 6th     $15.00 October 13th     $9.50 October 20th     $7.50 October 27th     $7.50 November 3rd    $7.50 November 10th    $5.00 … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 1 Comment

Encouraging Policynomics

Matthew Taylor, one of our entrepreneurial research assistants, has set up scholarships for ANU economics honours students to write policy-relevant theses. In an interview with the ANU magazine, he describes the genesis of the idea: “I received a scholarship from … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Encouraging Policynomics